You can get an estimate of your federal financial aid eligibility by completing the FAFSA4caster.
If you have already filed the taxes needed for your FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Retrieval Tool through the online FAFSA to connect directly to the Internal Revenue Service for your tax data.
Or get a paper FAFSA from your high school counselor, the local library, or your college's financial aid office.
Be sure to file early to meet deadlines.
New York State residents who include a New York school on their FAFSAs may apply for State aid, including New York's Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), immediately after completing the FAFSA by using the special link on the FAFSA Submission Confirmation page.
What Happens Next
You’ll get a Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizing your FAFSA and including your Estimated Family Contribution. Review it and make any corrections.
You’ll get an award letter from each college where you applied stating the aid you can expect if you attend that school. Consider the options outlined in the letter including grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs. Use this Financial Aid Award Letter Comparison Tool to help you compare up to three financial aid award letters. The tool will highlight the significant differences, calculate the net cost, and estimate the total cost of your education.
Tell the financial aid office that you accept or reject all or part of the financial aid package. Complete any other forms required by the school.
If you need a federal loan, follow the instructions in your college award letter. Visit studentloans.gov for information and application procedures.
Apply for Aid Each Year You’re in College
You must complete the FAFSA each year.
Never assume that because you received aid in one academic year you'll automatically get it again the next year. Review each program's application procedures carefully and reapply each year when necessary.
If you filled out a FAFSA the year before, you can probably use the shorter Renewal FAFSA and TAP application.